It is not age but performance that matters: Sangakkara

March 12th, 2009 - 10:08 pm ICT by IANS  

By P. Karunakharan
Colombo, March 12 (IANS) Proudly taking over the captaincy of Sri Lanka’s cricket team, Kumar Sangakkara said Thursday the age factor should not prevent players who are consistently performing well from playing in the national team.

Claiming that the team has “a good mixture of experienced and young players in the squad”, he said there were a lot more young and talented players being groomed to get into the national pool.

“It is never the age that matters, but the performance. They should be allowed to play and enjoy the game as long as they perform consistently well. The age factor should not be a barrier,” Sangakkara told IANS.

The 31-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman had been vice captain since 2006 and was officially named Sri Lanka’s new captain Thursday afternoon while the world record-holding spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan was named as his deputy.

“I think Murali being named as the vice captain is no issue at all. His knowledge of the game and contribution in wining the matches over the past years are immense and hard to describe in words,” said Sangakkara, one of the world’s premier wicketkeeper batsmen to have scored over 6,000 runs in both versions of the game.

“He is a champion player and his enormous achievements and experience in the game speak volumes. It is no surprise that he was appointed as the vice captain,” Sangakkara said, apparently subduing the alleged resentment from some quarters.

“We always try to build up a team and try to perform and win as a team. That is the secret behind our success. I will look forward to continue and strengthen it in the future as well,” he said.

Sangakkara takes over from Mahela Jayawardene, his close friend and team-mate during the past decade. Jayawardene stepped down immediately after the aborted two-Test tour to Pakistan early this month saying that his successor needs at least 18 months to prepare the lions for the 2011 world cup.

Both Sangakkara and Muralitharan are from the central hill district of Kandy.

Holding averages of 54.99 in Tests and 36.31 in One-Day Internationals, Sangakkara has taken over 380 catches and effected over 80 stumpings while keeping the wicket in both versions of the game.

The 36-year-old Muralitharan is the owner of the double world record of having taken highest number of wickets in both Tests (770) and One-Day Internationals (505).

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